Our first bench of 2018 is a Guest Bench from my ever reliable friend Lu. I love the muted moody blues of this scene reflecting the stormy end we had to 2017, which then leached through into the New Year.
A guest bench today courtesy of Twitter and Historic England, who posted recently on unusual war memorials.
This particular bench commemorates peace and was donated by the Quakers of Hastings to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The feather on the bench represents the white feathers bestowed on the street – usually by women – to men of forces serving age who were not in uniform. It was a way of denouncing and shaming them.
Quakers are advocates of peace and many of them were conscientious objectors during WWI, a group often awarded the white feather. Many Quakers who objected yet did choose to serve in some way drove the front-line ambulances, not a job for the faint-hearted.
See the video mentioned via this link. It’s well worth your time as the story is both heart warming and thought-provoking. As The Guardian says on its website:
“One in four people in Zimbabwe experiences mental health problems but there are only 13 psychiatrists in the country. To help plug the gap, Dixon Chibanda has developed a scheme to train an army of grandmothers, who offer a listening ear on park benches. The scheme challenges the stigma surrounding mental health and provides the women with company.”